Japan will reopen to mass tourism in October

(CNN) – Japan, one of the world’s last major holdouts during the pandemic, is lifting its Covid-19 restrictions and opening the door back to mass tourism.

Loved for its unique mix of vibrant urban culture and natural beauty, the country is lifting its strict regulations on foreign tourists, according to a tweet Thursday from Taro Kono, Japan’s minister of digital affairs.

“Finally, Japan will reopen the border,” the tweet said. “Visa waiver is back, no daily limit and free individual visits.”

The new policy starts on October 11.

“We will lift the ceiling on the number of entries into Japan, lift the ban on individual travel and lift the ban on visa-less travel,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday at a press conference in New York City, which he attended. the General Assembly of the UN.

Elaborating on the lifting of restrictions, Kishida said that “on the same day, we plan to launch a campaign to offer domestic travel discounts and event discounts to residents of Japan and hope that many citizens will take advantage of the offer to to support the hotel, travel and entertainment sectors which have taken huge hits during the pandemic.

The move marks a major policy shift after nearly 2 1/2 years of strict Covid-19 restrictions on who could enter the country and under what circumstances.

Those restrictions include caps on the daily number of arrivals allowed, strict testing rules for the coronavirus and requirements to join tour groups to visit.